Many in the cruise industry might have though Royal Caribbean International was a bit crazy when they first announced their Oasis Class ships. Oasis of the Seas and her sister ships were the largest ships at the time. The reaction of their competitors has been mixed. Some have come out with their own behemoth class of ships, while others have stuck to their guns and stayed with their smaller capacity ship sizes. Royal Caribbean International has even scaled back recently, with the launch of the smaller Quantum Class of ships.
Even with some cruise lines sticking with (or going back to) smaller ship sizes, MSC Cruises has recently announced their new World Class of Ships. These ships will be approximately 200,000 gross tons, with a double occupancy passenger capacity of 5,520 and a maximum capacity of 6,850. The World Class of Ships will compete directly with Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class, and will become the largest ships at sea.
Although the gross tonnage of MSC’s World Class of ships will be less than the Oasis Class of Ships, their passenger capacity will exceed that of the current record holder, Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. However, the upcoming Symphony of the Seas may also have a larger passenger capacity than her sister ship Harmony of the Seas. It is yet to be seen if Symphony’s passenger capacity will exceed the anticipated capacity of the new MSC ships.
MSC Cruises has committed to at least two of these new ships, launching in 2022 and 2024, with a possibility of two more launching in 2025 and 2026. With new ships often comes new technology, and MSC’s new ships are no exception. MSC announced that their World Class of ships will be powered by liquid natural gas (LNG), the cleanest burning of fossil fuels, which should allow the ships to sail longer between refueling. With the clear burner fuel and a new type of onboard waste treatment plant, the new ships will also be more environmentally friendly compared to today’s ships.
It remains to be seen if cruise lines will continue to push forward in passenger capacity and gross-tonnage, or if these ships will be the last of the massively sized ships, and that we will start seeing more of a scaling back in gross tonnage and capacity in the years to come.
Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel located in Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers. Through their division Kick Butt Vacations, she focuses on travel for 18 to 23-year-olds. Susan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (888) 221-1209.